Man charged over detective's stabbing

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The Independent Online

A review of police safety was under way yesterday after an unarmed and unprotected detective was fatally stabbed while trying to make an arrest on Friday. Detective Constable Michael Swindells was not wearing a protective vest when he was stabbed in the abdomen as he tried to apprehend a knifeman threatening passers-by in Birmingham. Detectives have charged a 48-year-old man with the murder of DC Swindells.

Chief Constable Paul Scott-Lee, the head of the West Midlands force, said at a news conference yesterday that the safety of officers would be reviewed again in the wake of the incident to see "whether or not we need to change our approach". Mr Scott-Lee said the dead officer, who leaves behind a widow, Carol, and a 19-year-old daughter, Kelly, was a hero for his actions: "The events of [Friday] highlighted the dangers that police officers put themselves in on a daily basis to protect members of the public."

The force has been inundated with tributes to DC Swindells, a former Royal Engineers lance corporal, including one from David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, and Hazel Blears, the minister in charge of policing.

The detective was stabbed after responding to an emergency call that a man was roaming the streets wielding a knife in the Nechells area of Birmingham. DC Swindells chased the suspect along a narrow path but was stabbed and died at the City Hospital.

The Army said the detective, who joined the force in 1990, was valued as a calming influence on junior officers, setting an example with his high standards.

Detectives are continuing to appeal for witnesses. Anyone with information should call Bromford Lane police station on 0121-626 7024.